In Need of Care: African American Families Transform the Providence Association for the Benefit of Colored Orphans during the Final Collapse of Slavery, 1839–1846

Previously posted at: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0363199019873632?ai=2b4&mi=ehikzz&af=R

Journal of Family History, Ahead of Print.
In 1839, several white Quaker women in Providence, Rhode Island, founded the Providence Association for the Benefit of Colored Orphans; they sought to take in the city’s orphans. During the first years of operation, dozens of African American parents admitted and withdrew their children from the Association. The vast majority of the children admitted had living parents or were paid boarders. In 1846, the Association incorporated as the Providence Association for the Benefit of Colored Children with an enlarged mission to provide for the support and education of black children. During the final collapse of slavery in Rhode Island, black parents transformed an orphanage into an institution that also offered short- and long-term care and education for wards and boarders. In doing so, they expanded the work of white reformers from raising African American children to supporting their needs as working parents.